Slideshow

Apple iPad: A hands-on tour in Pictures

Here's our up-close look at the features of Apple's new tablet.

  • Though the Apple iPad's interface may look familiar (see our hands-on impressions for more on the iPad), the hardware is clearly bigger than its iPhone/iPod Touch siblings.

  • Back View The back is smooth, and looks much as the original iPhone did.

  • Dock Connector and Speaker At the bottom of the iPad are the dock connector and the speaker grille.

  • PDF Viewer Here is a PDF attachment to an e-mail, being previewed through the Mail application. Notice, in the upper right, the Open button; it's greyed out in this instance, but if you wanted to see, for instance, a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet, or a PowerPoint file, you could preview the file first and then click the Open button to open the document in Apple's new iWork for iPad apps (Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, respectively). Apple demonstrators did not directly answer a query about how those apps would work if your document was stored in the cloud (for example, in Web-based e-mail or storage) but you wanted to edit the document on the iPad. Unfortunately, the unit has no logical file system, so you can't just save and open files as you would on a laptop.

  • Keyboard Dock In something of a tacit acknowledgement that the on-screen keyboard may not be for everyone, Apple will sell a $70 keyboard dock for the iPad as a separate accessory. The iPad slides right into the docking port, and can charge via the dock.

  • Google Maps Settings As with the iBooks app, you can pull back the top layer of Google Maps--in this case, to find the options for switching among the map types.

  • iBooks Page Turn The iBooks reader's page animations are both cool (as shown here, midturn), and annoying. The flicker for a quick page turn bugged me--nevertheless, it was better than suffering through the multiple flashes that one endures on most E-Ink readers as they try to redraw the page.

  • iBooks Page Navigation This image shows how you can easily scroll along the bottom of a book to jump to a specific page. I particularly liked how it showed what page of how many you were scrolling to, and how it indicated the number of pages remaining in the chapter. (Just one more chapter before I go to sleep...I swear!) Dedicated e-readers could learn something from this part of iBooks' design.

  • Video Playback--Chapters This landscape view shows how video-playback chapters look in the Video player. Enterprise, beam me up to chapter 5.

  • Picture Viewer Pictures work far better on the iPad than on the iPhone. The iPad's roomy screen gives images a chance to shine, and it permits you to preview many more images, more easily than on the smaller iPhone.

  • Access Multiple Calendars With this drop-down menu, it's simple to switch among different calendars for your household.

  • Library Ready to browse your library of books? Here they are, with their covers facing forward for easy, visual browsing.

  • Calendar--Week View Here's another example of how a redesigned app--the Calendar, in week view--can take advantage of the large display.

  • Video Player--Info In this landscape view of the iPod video player, you can see the information display on the left and a preview of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video on the right.

  • iBooks Reader This landscape view shows how a book will appear in iBooks. In this horizontal orientation, the reader application allows you to have two pages on the display at once. It also tries to mimic the experience of reading a book, right down to the visuals of additional pages on the left and right, and the darker area in the center, where the spine would be.

  • Contacts Apple has redesigned the Contacts app to take better advatage of the iPad's roomy, 9.7-inch screen.

  • YouTube--Portrait View This portrait view of a YouTube video shows one of the rare examples I encountered in which the app didn't seem to take full advantage of the screen's real estate. The display changes in the landscape view, where you get a list of similar videos in a pane to the right of the playing video.

  • iPad's E-Mail App In landscape mode, the e-mail app shows recent messages and a search bar at the left, and displays the selected message at the right.

  • Slideshow Options The on-the-fly slideshow creation tool is easy to use, and it creates fun, intricate slideshows. Simply choose from five transitions and pick the music you'd like to add (if any), and you're off. I don't see the iPad replacing inexpensive digital photo frames, but I certainly do understand how an iPad might double as a photo frame while it's standing upright in its dock.

  • A Page of Apps This particular iPad is loaded with applications currently available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, a demonstration of what a full menu screen of apps will look like on the iPad.

  • Google Maps This is the satellite view for the included Google Maps app.

  • YouTube Keyboard The YouTube app, like others, makes use of the iPad's extra space. Unfortunately, the keyboard--shown here for searching YouTube, but the same as the keyboard offered in other apps on the iPad--does not do the device justice. You get no feedback, visual or physical, when you press a key, for example.

  • Playing iPhone Games Yes, the iPad will play apps designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch--but they'll seem like postage stamps on a big screen, with both letterboxing and pillarboxing. The Oregon Trail, shown here, is a perfect example of what an app will look like on the iPad. If you use the 2X option to double the pixels, you will see pixelation; text-heavy apps such as Facebook will seem soft and fuzzy, too.

  • Calendar--Day View The Calendar day view shows how the iPad's improved basic apps can take maximum advantage of the display's extra space.

  • iPod Library The iPod library looks very different on the iPad. Like the other core Apple-supplied apps, the iPod app has been reimagined to use the additional space that the iPad's 9.7-inch display provides

  • Vcard in E-Mail Vcard attachments are presented in a pop-up window when you tap them, though adding a contact to your address book doesn't appear to be possible.

  • iPad Stand and Case The iPad Case ($40) has a triangular kickstand that props the tablet up at comfortable angles--upright for watching media, and inclined for typing. Though it looks like leather, it's reportedly made from a soft, rubbery microfiber material.

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